Yoga teachers instruct students in the practice of yoga. Apart from teaching correct yoga postures or asanas, instructors also teach students the underlying philosophy of this ancient Indian practice. Lessons in associated areas like diet and nutrition, meditation, and lifestyle changes that will help in the holistic growth of students are also given by teachers during yoga training.
Yoga is a way of life that gives people the opportunity to improve their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Yoga teachers have the responsibility to help students make this transition towards a better way of living.
Steps to Become a Certified Yoga Teacher
If you wish to become a yoga teacher, there are a few steps you’ll need to work your way through. Let’s explore what all must be done.
Conduct Personal Research on the Subject
The first thing that you need to know is the various types of yoga practices that are taught. There are a lot of centers offering yoga teacher training in India, this country being the birthplace of yoga. These training institutes specialize in one or the other form of yoga. Researching on the subject will help you measure your level of interest and decide the kind of training you wish to receive.
The duration of these training classes varies from a few months to years. But it does not stop with the completion of formal training and certification. You must have a life-long interest in learning to stay up to date and the self-discipline to devote time to daily practice. So in-depth personal research on the subject is of crucial importance. It will help you answer questions like:
- Am I willing to dedicate myself 100% to the practice of yoga?
- Do I want to master both traditional yoga and its variants or should I specialize in only one form?
- Am I diligent enough to continue learning throughout my life?
- Will I have time to prepare my group lessons and my individual classes, in parallel with my own training?
The research will also help you understand the kind of yoga teacher training in India you should take to attain the desired level of competence. The usual types of training that aspiring yoga teachers pursue are:
- Initial training to learn asanas and develop a basic understanding of the practice
- Intensive training program to specialize and develop core competence in one
- Specific short term training programs to explore and learn different forms of yoga practice
Practice and Study Under a Mentor
As a yoga teacher, you need to figure out which form of yoga you wish to specialize in. Start by taking short term courses under expert instructors. This will help you understand which style suits you best.
Traditional yoga forms in India include:
- Hatha Yoga
- Iyengar Yoga
- Kundalini Yoga
- Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
There are other variants derived from these traditional forms shaped by Western influence:
- Anusara Yoga
- Jivamukti Yoga
- Acro Yoga
- Hot Yoga
- Yin Yoga
- Aerial yoga
You might also end up finding a mentor in an instructor. Having a mentor to guide you in this journey will enrich your entire experience. Yoga training requires sincerity and enormous dedication. A good mentor, will help you to decide on the future course of your training, keep you motivated, and on track to achieving your goals.
Enroll in a Certified Training Program
While you can always train under an instructor in a yoga studio, to professionally pursue yoga, undertaking a certification program in yoga is important. Though not mandatory, it has advantages. A yoga instructor certificate from a government recognized university in India like SVYASA or a training school registered with Yoga Alliance will help to officially validate your expertise in the subject.
The schools registered with Yoga Alliance offer programs that are in line with its mandates for a 200-hours and 500-hours teacher training program. A yoga teacher certification program will include theoretical and practical classes.
- Theoretical sessions will cover topics on anatomy, physiology, history and philosophy of yoga, the life of spiritual masters, etc.
- Practical classes will include instructions on yoga techniques like asanas, kriyas, pranayama, chanting of shlokas, etc.
Apart from these, the teacher training courses will also have classes on teaching methodologies, personality development sessions, and more. Hence, enrolling in a certified program is recommended.
Register as a Yoga Instructor
If you have completed a program that meets the guidelines set by Yoga Alliance, you can apply for the Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) license issued by this body. It’s not compulsory to register for this license.
If you wish to be self-employed and offer personal classes, a valid yoga instructor certificate from an authorized training institute in India will make you eligible to train students. But employers are increasingly preferring RYT licensed yoga teachers.
A Yoga Alliance license is recognized globally and so it allows yoga teachers to practice overseas as well. This will open more opportunities for employment, and you can also think of pursuing a career abroad in this discipline. RYT holders are preferred recruits in yoga studios, retreats, fitness facilities.
Useful Tips to Help You Get Started
After you complete your training and become a certified yoga teacher, you can either choose to start out on your own or seek employment in yoga centers and other fitness facilities. Know that there are others like you who are looking for similar opportunities. So, to stand out in the crowd you need to have a plan in place.
Let’s look at some of the steps you can follow to succeed:
- Sharpen your networking skills. Stay connected with teachers and classmates
- Study your market. In the cities and more so in certain pockets, competition among yoga teachers is strong
- Try to discover your USP. To distinguish yourself from others, you may tailor your classes to fit the requirements of specific categories of clients. Adopt a unique approach to set yourself apart from other teachers. You can design yoga services for different types of athletes, or offer prenatal yoga classes, restorative yoga sessions and more
- Use word of mouth networking in your area
- Post classified ads or promote your services online
- You can create a personal website to showcase your skills and list your services
- Start a YouTube or Instagram channel with videos on yoga
- Write lifestyle articles in blog about yoga to establish your authority
- Enlist your service on Superprof to reach out to potential students
- Keep attending workshops to network with peers and also to stay up to date
Specialized yoga teachers find their first pupils thanks to word of mouth 80% of the time: so start passing out your business cards.
Scope for Yoga Teacher
With more and more people being conscious of their lifestyle choices, yoga is also gaining tremendous popularity. This is because people feel that this practice is integral to reach their goal of mindful and purposeful living. Hence, yoga teachers are in high demand not only in the country but abroad as well. There’s tremendous scope for instructors to earn well.
Yoga instructors may choose one or more of the following work modes:
- Teach students in groups at fitness centers, yoga studios or retreats
- Conduct workshops or short-term training programs at various facilities
- Offer personal training to individuals
- Work as fitness experts with organizations to help their employees achieve mind-body balance
- Neighborhood clubs or community centers that recruit yoga teachers
- Teach in private or public schools, where physical education is mandatory
While a lot of trainers may choose to pursue this full-time, you can always take this up as a side hustle. It’s totally possible to have a different daytime job and offer yoga training after and before work hours. You can choose to be self-employed or work as a part-time employee of a yoga facility.
With online teaching gaining huge momentum, due to Covid 19 pandemic, you can also offer classes online. This will help you to cut across boundaries and teach students anywhere on the globe.
Specialized yoga teachers are highly sought after in India as well as the West. At present, the age-old saying, ‘Health is Wealth’ holds more meaning than it has ever done before. Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to switch to a healthier mode of living. If you think you want to help people make this switch, then it's time to get the ball rolling. Complete your training to kickstart your career as a yoga teacher.